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Cloud Migration Strategies for Enterprise

Cloud migration may be a seemingly insurmountable endeavor for companies of any size, especially for large enterprises. Given the complexities of business processes in substantial companies, the interdependencies in enterprise software architectures can be extremely dangerous to detangle and migrate to the cloud. Some organizations that take a simple lift-and-shift approach have failed in meeting business needs for the sake of speed. Other organizations who take a complete green-field approach typically fall far behind schedule and severely over budget. Therefore, cloud migration strategies for enterprises require thorough planning and flawless execution.

To find out more about strategies for enterprise cloud migration, reach out to one of CAST’s Cloud Migration experts for a free consultation.

Cloud migration 2.0: shifting priorities for application modernization in 2019



What Is Cloud Migration?

Cloud Migration is the movement of software, data, and the supporting architecture to run software from an infrastructure that is internal to the enterprise to a cloud infrastructure. Cloud infrastructure can be private or public. However, in general, cloud infrastructure allows an enterprise’s software to be more available, resilient, and scalable.

Cloud Migration Strategies and Considerations: What Are the Objectives?

There are numerous benefits to moving to the cloud. However, enterprises and business units within those enterprises must determine what their priorities are and their order.
Typical Business Objectives for the Best Cloud Migration Strategies:

  • Accelerate time-to-market to gain a competitive advantage
  • Increase user and customer satisfaction by minimizing downtime, outages, and performance lags
  • Reduce costs of innovating and maintaining legacy software
  • Reduce the overhead cost of maintaining and operating persistent data centers

Typical Technology Objectives for Cloud Migration Strategies:

  • Redesign enterprise architecture on the newest and latest infrastructure to ensure scalability for decades to come
  • Leverage a more flexible infrastructure to manage incidents better
  • Design an automated development and deployment pipeline to deploy faster and more often
  • Scale deployments and users base more easily with cloud infrastructure
  • Revamp application portfolio so it is designed for the future
  • Attract new engineering talent with a new technology stack

To find out more about strategies for cloud migration and to get real-life cloud strategy examples, reach out to one of CAST’s Cloud Migration experts for a free consultation.

Common Approaches to Cloud Migration Strategies

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Before starting any migration, enterprises must first define their target architecture, which is sometimes called the “landing zone.” While some enterprises may choose to have several different target architectures, most will try to converge on a single platform to take advantage of standardization. While the largest platforms in the market are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud, there is a plethora of cloud technology stacks and component libraries that can be used on these platforms that fit the specific needs of the enterprise.


Once the platform and technology stack is determined, enterprises typically approach cloud migration from a variety of angles. Whether and how much each approach is used depends on the business process being supported, the complexity of migration, the scalability needs of the Cloud migrating systems, and the potential financial upsides for the organization. In a nutshell, the following approaches can be employed based on the enterprise's needs and objectives:

  1. Lift and Shift
    In essence, the Lift and Shift approach is taking an existing software ecosystem from its current on-premise infrastructure and moving it practically as-is to a cloud infrastructure. This approach is, by far, the quickest (and potentially least costly) approach to cloud migration. However, it seldom meets the business objectives of scalability after the migration is complete. In fact, it’s often an intermediate step to brown field or green field migrations. One exception to the rule with lift and shift are vendor-provided packaged software. Many software vendors will define a few paths to cloud migration for their software depending on the enterprise's target cloud architecture.
  2. Brown Field Migration or Software Re-architecture
    Enterprises typically manage a significant number of legacy systems with components developed as far back as the 1960s, more recently engineered in the 2000s, or a mix of both. Regardless of the age of the legacy systems, they are seldom designed to be developed, run, or deployed in the cloud. Brown field migration is an approach to cloud migration where enterprises re-architect legacy systems for the cloud, while keeping its core functionality mostly the same. Re-architecting and partially re-writing legacy systems is a very significant investment, but it allows business users to remain within their familiar business processes, while ensuring that the system takes advantage of the scalability of a cloud infrastructure.
  3. Green Field Migration or Cloud-Native Applications
    Some legacy systems are simply not fit for brown field migration, let alone Lift and Shift. Enterprises may find that some systems are well overdue for an overhaul in both functionality and architecture. These systems can be sunsetted, and reincarnated as Cloud-Native Applications written from scratch specifically for the cloud and in cloud-native development environments. Green field migration (or development) is typically the most costly of all approaches, but the payoff can be well worth it. Applications developed with cloud-native deployment as the backdrop will be extremely scalable, and can take full advantage of automated deployment capabilities that cloud environments offer.
  4. Software as a Service (SaaS)
    In some cases, enterprises may find that capabilities common to many organizations may be better purchased than built. Capabilities such as finance and accounting, customer relationship management (CRM), human resources management (HRM), or master data management (MDM) are better managed on packaged vendor platforms. The SaaS cloud migration approach is taking an internal capability and migrating it to a cloud-native vendor software. This approach is increasingly popular amongst large enterprises as the selection of cloud-native vendor-packaged software has grown over the last decade, and the flexibility of these products to meet complex business needs have matured significantly over the same time.

To find out more about strategies for cloud migration, reach out to one of CAST’s Cloud Migration experts for a free consultation.